David Letterman reflected Wednesday on the novel coronavirus pandemic, offering an optimistic perspective about eventually overcoming and learning from the ongoing outbreak.
The longtime former late-night TV host discussed the global health crisis during a lengthy interview conducted by Howard Stern on the latter’s satellite radio show on SiriusXM.
“We’ve been through it before. We were attacked. We lived through the AIDS epidemic. In 1957, there was a flu that killed nearly a million people. There was World War II. There was the Holocaust. There are people killing other people on a routine basis. And yet the human spirit, built into the human spirit is a resilience unlike any other mechanism on the human planet. And this will pass and we will survive,” Mr. Letterman said during “The Howard Stern Show.”
“Good lord, remember the hell that was Vietnam? Oh my god. We got through that,” Mr. Letterman added. “But the problem is, the residual effect of these events stays with us quite a long, generation after generation, and that will be the next struggle.”
Mr. Letterman, 73, made the remarks in response to Mr. Stern, 66, asking him toward the end of the nearly hour-long interview to give listeners “a message of hope, or something.”
Speaking later during the episode, Mr. Letterman said the outbreak has helped him recently come to the realization that Americans including himself have been too materialistic.
“I’ve noticed it in my own life. I don’t need around 90% of what I have in my life … We just have too much as Americans and we take so much for granted. And we don’t need it. We really don’t need it,” said Mr. Letterman.
“We just have too much. Let’s don’t be so goddamn selfish and so goddamn greedy. We’re all the same, for crap’s sake, and we’re all carbon-based lifeforms and we’re all breathing the same air,” Mr. Letterman added.
He also revealed during the interview that the wife of musician Paul Schaffer, his longtime sidekick and collaborator, was recently hospitalized for two weeks after contracting COVID-19, the infectious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. She is currently doing “much better,” Mr. Letterman said.
More than one million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S. since the outbreak erupted earlier this year, killing tens of thousands of Americans and subjecting most of the country to sweeping travel and business restrictions meant to mitigate the pandemic.
Mr. Letterman hosted more than 6,000 episodes of his “Late Night” and “Late Show” programs between 1982 and 2015, earning accolades along the way including several Emmy Awards and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, among others.
He was notably the first late-night TV host to return to the airwaves following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.